Stop picking own candidates, Anwar told

PKR division leaders say wrong candidates picked by Anwar Ibrahim to contest in the general election may result in sabotage.

B Nantha Kumar, FMT

PKR’s preparation for the 13th general election has hit a snag with several party division leaders complaining that they were not consulted before the potential candidates were picked and made public.

They also claim that party de-facto chief Anwar Ibrahim was making unilateral decisions in picking candidates and this would lead to a “major problem” after nominations.

“There would be factions after nominations. Those not picked but promised seats would pull back. I do not rule out sabotage. If the candidate does not meet expectation of members then, members will refrain from campaigning and this is trouble for PKR,” said a party division leader who declined to be named.

He claimed that Anwar was not picking candidates based on their track record but was giving out seats to those close to him.

“Anwar is very talented, he is a good orator but his judgement on the selection of candidates is flawed,” said a division chairman from Selangor who did not want to be named.

“Just look at Hulu Selangor. It is speculated Anwar would field his close friend Khalid Jaafar as PKR candidate in the constituency. The chances of Khalid winning the seat is slim because he is not well liked by the locals,” he added.

The source said Khalid, Anwar’s former speech writer, was defeated in the tussle for the Bukit Katil parliament seat in Malacca during the 2008 general election.

“Now, he is trying his luck in Hulu Selangor,” said the party insider, adding that PKR was capable of taking back the seat from MIC if it fields a strong candidate.

In 2008, PKR won Hulu Selangor when Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad defeated MIC president G Palanivel with a 198 vote majority.

However, the seat returned to BN in a by-election following the demise of Zainal in 2010.

The source said another example of a wrong PKR candidate was in the Pasir Salak parliamentary seat.

“Party members are not happy with Anwar naming Musthapa Kamil Ayub as the candidate. So why pick him? Anwar should talk to grassroots leaders before making announcements on candidates,” he added.